Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Detecting Explosives With Honeybees: Experts Develop Method To Train Air Force Of Bomb-sniffing Bees

Date:
November 29, 2006
Source:
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Summary:
Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a method for training the common honey bee to detect the explosives used in bombs.

Honey bee.
Credit: Image Scott Bauer, USDA/ARS (Agricultural Research Service)

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a method for training the common honey bee to detect the explosives used in bombs. Based on knowledge of bee biology, the new techniques could become a leading tool in the fight against the use of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, which present a critical vulnerability for American military troops abroad and is an emerging danger for civilians worldwide.

Related Articles


By studying bee behavior and testing and improving on technologies already on the market, Los Alamos scientists developed methods to harness the honey bee's exceptional olfactory sense where the bees' natural reaction to nectar, a proboscis extension reflex (sticking out their tongue), could be used to record an unmistakable response to a scent. Using Pavlovian training techniques common to bee research, they trained bees to give a positive detection response, via the proboscis extension reflex, when they were exposed to vapors from TNT, C4, TATP explosives and propellants.

According to Tim Haarmann, principal investigator for the Stealthy Insect Sensor Project, the project applies old knowledge to a pressing new problem. Haarmann said, "Scientists have long marveled at the honey bee's phenomenal sense of smell, which rivals that of dogs," said Haarmann. "But previous attempts to harness and understand this ability were scientifically unproven. With more knowledge, our team thought we could make use of this ability."

The team that Haarmann put together began with research into why bees are such good detectors, going beyond merely demonstrating that bees can be used to identify the presence of explosives. By looking at such attributes as protein expression, the team sought to isolate genetic and physiological differences between those bees with good olfaction and those without. They also determined how well bees could detect explosives in the presence of potentially interfering agents, such as lotions, motor oil, or insect repellant. In addition, the team studied structural units in the honey bee's antenna and looked for biochemical and molecular mechanisms that could advance their ability to be trained and retain their training for longer periods of time.

Currently supported by a development grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Stealthy Insect Sensor Project is a collaboration of scientists and technicians from the Laboratory's Bioscience, Chemistry, and Environmental Protection divisions, including Kirsten McCabe and Robert Wingo.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Los Alamos National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Los Alamos National Laboratory. "Detecting Explosives With Honeybees: Experts Develop Method To Train Air Force Of Bomb-sniffing Bees." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 November 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061128140820.htm>.
Los Alamos National Laboratory. (2006, November 29). Detecting Explosives With Honeybees: Experts Develop Method To Train Air Force Of Bomb-sniffing Bees. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061128140820.htm
Los Alamos National Laboratory. "Detecting Explosives With Honeybees: Experts Develop Method To Train Air Force Of Bomb-sniffing Bees." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061128140820.htm (accessed April 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Voice-Controlled GPS Helmet to Help Bikers

Voice-Controlled GPS Helmet to Help Bikers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 1, 2015) Motorcyclists will no longer have to rely on maps or GPS systems, both of which require riders to take their eyes off the road, once a new Russian smart helmet goes on sale this summer. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Wound-Healing Laser Soon to Be a Reality Israeli Scientist

Wound-Healing Laser Soon to Be a Reality Israeli Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 1, 2015) Israeli scientists says laser bonding of tissue allows much faster healing and less scarring. Amy Pollock has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
7-Year-Old Girl Gets 3-D Printed 'robohand'

7-Year-Old Girl Gets 3-D Printed 'robohand'

AP (Mar. 31, 2015) Although she never had much interest in prosthetic limbs before, Faith Lennox couldn&apos;t wait to slip on her new robohand. The 7-year-old, who lost part of her left arm when she was a baby, grabbed it as soon as it came off a 3-D printer. (March 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dutch Architects Show Off 3D House-Building Prowess

Dutch Architects Show Off 3D House-Building Prowess

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) Dutch architects are constructing a 3D-printed canal-side home, which they hope will spark an environmental revolution in the house-building industry. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins